ALBANY -- A proposed homebuyer assistance plan would encourage recent college graduates to remain upstate.
A $5 million pilot program, called Graduate to Homeownership, would provide recent college graduates with homebuyer assistance through low-interest loans, down-payment assistance and homebuyer education courses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
“Upstate colleges and universities have world-class programs that produce highly skilled graduates -- who then leave for opportunities elsewhere,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“This program will incentivize recent graduates to put down roots in upstate communities, helping to bring new energy into their downtown centers, spur their development and increase their economic vitality.”
The proposal, which would need approval of the state Legislature, aims to reverse the trend of population declines upstate.
Forty-one of 50 upstate counties lost population between 2010 and 2015, a drop of nearly 32,000 people, a report last year found.
The lower Hudson Valley and New York City have had population increases in recent years.
Cuomo said the program would aim to encourage young people who may graduate from the many upstate colleges to stay in the area, particularly to move into downtown areas.
Unlike upstate communities, an estimated 70 percent of recent graduates from New York City colleges remain in the surrounding area after graduation, the governor said.
The program, which is part of Cuomo's State of the State agenda, would be geared towards students and recent graduates, and it would include online and on-campus financial and homebuyer education courses to college students in upstate.
Some details of the program had yet to be determined, such as how "recent" graduates would be defined, how much money would be available for each applicant and what would be considered upstate.
The state typically considers upstate New York the regions outside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which includes the 12-county New York City area.
Cuomo's office said the low-interest, first-time homebuyer loans would be offered through the State of New York Mortgage Agency.